KeysFest 2021 kicks off with Edward Callahan in Concert

February 11, 2021

a young man looking to the right and smiling in front of a white wall

KeysFest 2021 is right around the corner and we’re excited that Edward Callahan will kick off our annual day of master classes with a free virtual community concert on Friday, February 19 at 7 PM ET. In order to prepare you for his live stream performance from Wellspring Theater, we asked Edward a few questions about himself. Here’s what he had to say!

You’re originally from Kalamazoo, where The Gilmore is located. What are some of your favorite memories from growing up here?
Kalamazoo has so many great things to offer! I miss the parades downtown; I was a member of the band and I remember hearing family and friends scream my name as I marched down the streets! The Black Arts Festival was also an exciting time for me because there were so many things to do, from eating, playing games, listening to the music and so much more.

You are also a Gilmore Education department alum – what school did you attend and what do you remember from your time participating?
I attended Woodward School for Technology and Research. I remember working with Rich Ridenour and going on Gilmore for Kids concert tours with his son Ross, who was also a friend of mine. It was my first taste of performing piano live, and it was one of the first paychecks I received for playing piano. I have a picture of it somewhere!

You recently released your first album, Minor Keys, featuring works by Chopin and Schubert and you’re working on your second album as we speak. How does working on an album differ from preparing for a concert?
Working on my album in a studio is definitely an exciting process. I can do multiple takes, listen to playbacks, take it home, reflect on it, and make changes. When I’m preparing for a concert, I practice full runs from start to finish with songs; it would be tough to restart a phrase on stage! But they both require focus and energy! 

You currently live in Harlem, New York and have toured in Italy. Where is your favorite place you’ve ever performed?
My favorite place I have performed is Lincoln Center. I had dreamt of myself in a tuxedo, bowing before crowds while holding on to the piano. It was amazing to experience it for real. And I could even see my Mom looking at me from the corner of my eye while playing! 

Do you have any advice for young pianists who want to turn their passion into a career?
Don’t rush the process, enjoy every minute of it. We tend to be hard on ourselves because it is such a competitive field, but the goal is to continue to self improve. You will hear and feel yourself getting better as time goes on, and it is the most rewarding experience for a musician. There are some songs I play, and in my head, I am saying, ” How the heck did I do that?!” 

Thank you to Mr. Callahan for his candor – get your ticket for his free live stream concert today!

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